Home' Navy News : July 5th 2012 Contents AA
Diver under fire
CPL Mark Doran
"CONTACT -- wait out." This is not
a common radio message for a sailor
Nor is it common for one of the
Navy's finest to be fighting on the bat-
tlefield 1000km from the nearest salt
POCD Justin Ramanauskas of
EOD Troop Combined Team Uruzgan
(CTU) is in charge of a four-man team
at the Multinational Base Tarin Kot
which responds to some explosive
Their role as enablers for CTU and
Mentoring Task Force 4 (MTF 4) is
to clear improvised explosive devices
(IEDs) from paths for troops and con-
voys in Uruzgan.
As a Team One clearance diver
based at HMAS Waterhen, POCD
Ramanauskas has been exposed to
a completely different environment
while working in Afghanistan to most
roles as a sailor.
It was during a dismounted
Afghan National Army (ANA) part-
nered clearance patrol with Mentoring
Team One on March 22 where POCD
Ramanauskas found himself receiving
hostile fire for the second time during
his first deployment.
The patrol was in the Char Chineh,
a remote area of Uruzgan, and POCD
Ramanauskas said they were informed
of insurgents observing the troops and
preparing an ambush.
"We were moving across open
ground and had just taken cover when
our combat team started to receive small
arms fire," POCD Ramanauskas said.
"The right flank returned fire
immediately and we continued to
engage the enemy while pushing our-
"At that point the insurgents fired a
recoilless rifle round at the overwatch
position which was on a cliff and the
team in that position was lucky not to
be injured by the close explosion."
The insurgent's sporadic fire gave
away their positions to the combat
team on the right flank who continued
to engage them as the engineers per-
sisted in moving forward.
An air weapons team of two US
AH-64D Apaches was called in and
there were lulls in the three-hour battle
as the insurgents hid until the aircraft
The insurgents then increased their
rate of fire with automatic weapons
and rocket-propelled grenades until
the Apaches returned with two A-10
Warthogs in support, causing the insur-
gents to flee.
POCD Ramanauskas said his team
pushed forward using fire and move-
ment to the insurgents' location.
"We continued on with our task
and noticed there were no local nation-
als in the area as we entered the com-
pounds," he said.
"To be honest, it just felt like a nor-
mal patrol -- we came to Afghanistan
fully prepared for this type of situation."
Engineer search teams are respon-
sible for finding explosive ordnance
and IEDs before calling the EOD
The Talon robot is considered one
of the most critical pieces of equip-
ment used in the EOD role and it can
travel through sand, water, and snow,
as well as climb stairs.
POCD Ramanauskas said the Talon
was used as a remote means to disrupt
an IED and separate the components
before placing a counter charge.
"If it breaks down it means the
bomb suit comes out and I have been
training in it just in case I need to wear
it," he said.
"An EOD technician needs to be
patient and be able to think calmly
and clearly about their next course
of action and then communicate that
clearly to the team and everyone need-
He said he was also proud to be
working with the Afghans.
"Working alongside the Afghan
Security Forces has shown me they are
now in a better position for when we
"Some of the ANA have phenom-
enal integrity and commitment, espe-
cially when it comes to engaging the
"I have been welcomed to
Afghanistan as a sailor and I feel
privileged to be working and fighting
alongside Australian soldiers on the
July 5, 2012
ON DRY LAND: POCD Justin Ramanauskas, of EOD Troop Combined
Team Uruzgan, found these explosive ordnance and weapons and more
during his deployment.
Photo: CPL Mark Doran
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